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Castle Hill medieval ringwork, Hunworth

A Scheduled Monument in Stody, Norfolk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.8748 / 52°52'29"N

Longitude: 1.0782 / 1°4'41"E

OS Eastings: 607249.097459

OS Northings: 335247.926156

OS Grid: TG072352

Mapcode National: GBR T9Q.PF3

Mapcode Global: WHLR7.J0MG

Entry Name: Castle Hill medieval ringwork, Hunworth

Scheduled Date: 4 December 1924

Last Amended: 16 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017672

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21440

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Stody

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Hunworth

Church of England Diocese: Norwich

Details

The monument includes a medieval ringwork, prominently situated on a glacial
spur of sand and gravel overlooking the village of Hunworth to the south west
and commanding two crossings of the River Glaven. To the east, south and south
west, where the river bends sharply around the foot of the spur, the ground
drops steeply to the valley 15m below, but to the north it slopes more
gently to a slight hollow. The ringwork, which has an overall diameter of
approximately 95m, occupies the highest part of the spur and is visible as a
penannular earthwork enclosure surrounded by an inner bank, a ditch and a
slight counterscarp bank. On the north west side a hollowed causeway across
the ditch and corresponding gaps in the inner bank and counterscarp bank mark
the site of what is believed to be an original entrance. The inner bank is
most clearly defined on the north and east side of the enclosure, where it
stands to a height of up to 1.5m above the level of the ground surface in the
interior and measures about 15m wide at the base. During limited excavations
conducted by the Norfolk Research Committee in 1965, the inner face of the
bank on the east side was examined and traces of a possible timber revetment
observed, backed by the remains of a bank of turf which may have been
constructed as part of the preliminary marking out of the enclosure. The
counterscarp bank remains visible on the north, north east and south west
sides of the enclosure and is about 0.5m in height, although on all but the
east side the ground drops away steeply below it. The ditch remains open to a
depth of between 0.6m and 1.3m below the level of the counterscarp bank except
on the south and part of the west side, where it is marked only by a slight
ledge in the natural slope. The excavation in 1965 established that on the
north side of the enclosure it was originally about 2.9m deep with steeply
sloping sides and a flat bottom 3.3m wide. The lower part had become infilled
with gravel from the inner bank not very long after construction, which
suggests that the ringwork may have been in use for only a short period of
time.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late
Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended
area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a
substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a
stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the
bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military
operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements.
They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60
with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted
range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular
significance to our understanding of the period.

The ringwork on Castle Hill, Hunworth is one of only five examples recognized
in Norfolk and the site, dominating the adjacent village and commanding two
crossings of the River Glaven is typical of this type of monument. The
earthworks survive well, and limited excavations have demonstrated that they
retain archaeological information relating to the construction of the
monument. Remains of features such as buildings are also likely to be
preserved in the interior of the enclosure, and evidence for earlier land use
and activities preceding the construction of the earthworks will survive in
soils buried beneath the inner bank and counterscarp.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Green, B & Taylor, M C, Trial excavation of an Earthwork at Castle Hill, Hunworth, 1996, Typescript in SMR file
OS 69/038/72-73,

Source: Historic England

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